Tegel airport signs, Berlin. Image courtesy Matti Blume. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Direction_signs_at_airport_Tegel_(EDDT).jpg
(Credit: Matti Blume)

Oh, business travel. You’re traveling to meet with a client, drum up new business, or develop a new project.

That’s awesome.

What’s not so awesome is dealing with long lines at the airport, discomfort from being stuck in a tiny middle seat, being stuck in rental car limbo once you arrive, or a hotel room that’s too uncomfortable to work in.

Lifestyle site Thrillist has a great guide to Every Travel Hack You Need To Fly Like A Damn Professional that’s written by Kevin Alexander.

And I’ll be the first to vouch and say that these are super-helpful.

Changi Airport, Singapore. Via Jnpet.
Changi Airport, Singapore. Via Jnpet.

Pick an airport parking lot and stick with it:

In many cities, parking shuttle services offer reward programs to attract repeat customers. This means free stays and discounted parking for customers who are loyalty to one garage or another when they park at the airport or train station.

Use an airline for their loyalty programs:

Try to travel with one airline as frequently as possible to reap maximum benefits from their loyalty programs. This could mean faster security lines, free checked luggage, and free amenities on board. In many cases, it’s smartest to stick with the airline that has the most service at your airport; in others, it is intelligent to use an airline with a particularly good set of airline credit card bonuses.

Choose your seat wisely:

Don’t just choose the first seat in an empty row. Use a service such as Seatguru to find the most comfortable seats on your flight. Also, choose a row with one other person sitting in it to have better odds of an empty middle seat, and choose a seat closer to the front of the plane if you’re in a hurry to get a meeting or the hotel after your flight.

Don’t upgrade right away:

Discounted upgrades are often available the same day as your flight because the airline is trying hard to get maximum revenue from seats. Use this to your advantage.

Pack smart:

If you have to take checked luggage, fly with an airline that offers free checked luggage for loyalty program or credit card holders so you save money. And if time is of the essence, just pack everything in your carry-on–not waiting for your luggage means you have a lot more time to get to your destination.

Buy a TSA PreCheck or Clear membership:

As I write this, the TSA is expecting extremely long lines at airport security checkpoints this summer. That sounds awful. But wait times can be significantly shortened by signing up for a service like TSA PreCheck or Clear which let you skip most of the line in exchange for paying a ~$100 one-time fee and submitting to a background check.

TSA security line
TSA Checkpoint, Via TuckerW.

Choose your TSA security line like a pro:

At many airports, especially larger ones, there are multiple TSA checkpoints for each terminal. Googling ahead of time and doing some research can help you find which of these checkpoints both (important!) has access to your particular gate and traditionally shorter lines.

Know your terminal:

All airline terminals aren’t equal. The last thing you want to do is be stuck for two hours at a no-amenities terminal with only a sad plastic-wrapped sandwich to grab for lunch and a newsstand with nothing interesting to buy. Check your airport’s website and find out what all the options are. For business travelers who are vegetarian, Kosher, gluten-free or following a similar diet, this is especially useful.

Bring snacks for the flight:

You don’t want to be hungry and angry when you arrive at your destination after a long flight or if you didn’t have time to eat in the terminal. Nuts, raisins, and other durable non-smelly snacks are great. Tuna sandwiches, eggs, and anything that unleashes unwanted odors on your neighbors aren’t.

Prepare for slow internet service:

Have that graphics-heavy document stored on Dropbox you were looking forward to editing? Wait until you land. Even if your airline advertises fast on-board internet, speed can often be frustratingly slow: This is especially important on weekday morning flights, when there are a lot of travelers looking to go online to complete work as they head to their meetings and on-sites.

Read more at Thrillist.